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A sweeping historical epic and a radical new interpretation of Vasco da Gama’s groundbreaking voyages, seen as a turning point in the struggle between Christianity and Islam
In 1498 a young captain sailed from Portugal, circumnavigated Africa, crossed the Indian Ocean, and discovered the sea route to the Indies and, with it, access to the fabled wealth of the East. It was the longest voyage known to history. The little ships were pushed beyond their limits, and their crews were racked by storms and devastated by disease. However, their greatest enemy was neither nature nor even the sheer dread of venturing into unknown worlds that existed on maps populated by coiled, toothy sea monsters. With bloodred Crusader crosses emblazoned on their sails, the explorers arrived in the heart of the Muslim East at a time when the old hostilities between Christianity and Islam had risen to a new level of intensity. In two voyages that spanned six years, Vasco da Gama would fight a running sea battle that would ultimately change the fate of three continents.
An epic tale of spies, intrigue, and treachery; of bravado, brinkmanship, and confused and often comical collisions between cultures encountering one another for the first time; Holy War also offers a surprising new interpretation of the broad sweep of history. Identifying Vasco da Gama’s arrival in the East as a turning point in the centuries-old struggle between Islam and Christianity—one that continues to shape our world—Holy War reveals the unexpected truth that both Vasco da Gama and his archrival, Christopher Columbus, set sail with the clear purpose of launching a Crusade whose objective was to reach the Indies; seize control of its markets in spices, silks, and precious gems from Muslim traders; and claim for Portugal or Spain, respectively, all the territories they discovered. Vasco da Gama triumphed in his mission and drew a dividing line between the Muslim and Christian eras of history—what we in the West call the medieval and the modern ages. Now that the world is once again tipping back East, Holy War offers a key to understanding age-old religious and cultural rivalries resurgent today.
A really good book that brings to life the age of discovery and a leading explorer so liitle documented in English language history. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Ian
Informative, educational, and entertaining. An excellent combination of exploration and history. Provides an interesting look into the background of the relationship between... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Russell
Nigel Cliff is not sufficiently versed in this history. Read " A History of Portuguese Overseas Expansion, 1400-1668" by Malyn Newin!Published 5 months ago by Peter J. Piaseckyj
Very interesting, specially for world History lovers. Good research, I liked this book very muchPublished 5 months ago by Lucien
I enjoyed reading about such an important yet mostly forgotten explorer, and the pioneering (yet horrendously brutal) role Portugal played in transforming Europe into a global... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Marcel
This was an interesting and educational read. I've read quite a few history books and learned who Vasco da Gama was in high school, but from this book I learned about the details... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Leslie B. Conklin
A remarkably detailed and well researched account of the bloody struggle for power and dominance through exploration in the 15th and 16th centuries. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Caroline von Reitzenstein